While results in the past few Indianapolis 500 Mile Races aren’t indicative of his team’s pace, Sage Karam believes there is a lot left to accomplished between the Nazareth, Pennsylvania native and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
Taking in afternoon practice as an observer at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, Karam watched longingly as his Verizon IndyCar Series peers raced on into the summer sunset while he continues to work on a ride. For this year, for next year, for any driving opportunity possible.
Over the offseason, team owner Dennis Reinbold demonstrated his desire to expand the team’s IndyCar operations and did just that by adding a second car to his Indianapolis 500 line-up. Veteran J.R. Hildebrand joined the fray and eventually gave the team their best finish (11th) as Karam crashed out from 6th place on lap 153 (finishing 26th).
In March, Reinbold told Autosport that the addition of a second car at Indianapolis was by design, all part of a greater plan to potentially go either part-time or full-time in 2019.
“To get two cars this year for the ‘500 is on purpose,” said Reinbold. “That sets us up to have equipment, so we have extra wheelguns, we have extra tires, we have extra radios, spares… That puts us in position to be able to try to expand in the future. You would need all those pieces to be able to be a full-time team.
“Behind the scenes, we’re working on that, but it needs to be a good fit.”
Judging the comments made by Karam today as a guest of the IndyCar Radio Network, it seems that the team continues to work in that direction and could be a potential entry for more than just Indianapolis next season.
“We will come back next year stronger,” Karam told Nick Yeoman on pit road. “Dennis has been flirting of the idea of coming back full-time and I think he’s close… we just need to find a little bit more funding.”
Karam continued to speak to the relationship he has with Reinbold and how their bond has strengthened over the years since the pairing’s first run together in 2014.
“(Reinbold) spoke to me after the race at Indy and pulled me into his bus and just said, ‘I want you back next year and I want to be full-time next year and you are my guy if we are going full-time.’ So its really good to hear your team owner say that after you just had not the best finish to a race.
“He is so loyal … Dennis Reinbold is probably the most loyal person I’ve met in this racing industry and I’ll never forget that, so he is always going to have first shot (at Karam’s services) no matter what.”
So for now, Karam will continue the search for significant backers that will not only put him in a car for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 but all the other races in the 2019 IndyCar Series championship.
With another car in the stable from their double effort at Indy this past May, the chance for at least one Dreyer & Reinbold full-time entry for next season is much better than at this point last season.
Considering Reinbold’s public plans for expansion, Harding Racing’s continued efforts to feature two cars and maybe even a wild card addition such as McLaren and/or Scuderia Corsa, the upcoming offseason is looking to be even sillier than our latest winter.
Image courtesy of James Black/INDYCAR Media.